Undisclosed donors gave $95K in SD governor race

Rapid City Journal

An out-of-state political action committee that ran advertisements supporting Kristi Noem and opposing Billie Sutton in the race for governor of South Dakota received $95,000 from undisclosed sources during the final week of the campaign.


Two campaign-finance experts interviewed by the Journal, Austin Graham and Brendan Fischer, of the nonpartisan and nonprofit Campaign Legal Center in Washington, D.C., said the situation undermined the transparency of campaign-finance disclosures but may have been lawful. Graham called it "a classic instance of dark money" and said similar tactics are increasingly in use across the country.

The Federal Election Commission was unavailable to comment on the situation, because its media relations office is closed during the partial shutdown of the federal government.


Fischer, of the Campaign Legal Center, said it's possible the relatively new nonprofit has not yet had to submit a Form 990, which is a report that nonprofits must file annually with the IRS. He said the situation as described by McKay would be considered lawful. To be considered unlawful, there would have to be evidence that the donors gave money to the nonprofit corporation with an understanding that the money would be passed along to the super PAC.

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